Tuesday, 8 May 2007

More Legal Posturing

The Premier League were today preparing to publicly reject the complaints of clubs threatening legal action over the Carlos Tevez affair. According to a story in the Daily Mail, they are drawing up a statement confirming their confidence in the decision not to deduct points from West Ham for breaking two rules in signing the striker last August and their ability to defend it in court. Premiership lawyers, after examining the written legal challenge from Fulham, Charlton, Wigan and Sheffield United, are comfortable Tevez's contract now does not allow the possibility of any external influence over West Ham. They insist this is the crucial point and means the fight for Premiership survival will be decided on the pitch, not in the courts.

It is believed the threat of legal action appears to be receding anyway after Charlton's relegation last night, with their defeat by Tottenham also making Fulham safe. Both were among the gang of four who wrote to the Premier League threatening legal action under Companies Act section 459. Charlton may now view the case as redundant while Fulham now have little incentive to pursue costly legal proceedings. The best any legal challenge could initially expect would be a re-investigation of Tevez's contract, which the gang of four claim is still owned by a third party, businessman Kia Joorabchian. It is to this end that a letter has been sent to FA chiefs asking for the ownership issue to be clarified.

Whatever the intentions of both Charlton and Fulham, Sheffield United are still intending to sue the Premier League for around £40million if they are relegated. Plc chairman Kevin McCabe pledged last night that his club will support Wigan in similar action should Paul Jewell’s side lose a three-team fight against the drop. Representatives of United and Wigan, who play at Bramall Lane on Sunday, shared a conference call on Tuesday with newly relegated Charlton and now-safe Fulham to discuss their continuing opposition to the Premier League’s imposition of a £5.5m fine on West Ham rather than deduct points. McCabe said: "We will support Wigan if they go down — and will continue to liaise with other clubs after the season. Our turnover in the Premier League would be £50m compared to £10m back in the Championship. We have crowds this season of 31,000 that would slump by a good 10,000. Then there is the anticipated shortfall in commercial revenue. It’s not so much a case of gaining recompense as protecting our position in the hope that the Premier League will reconsider their decision and appoint a new tribunal."

Elsewhere, Sir Alex Ferguson is prepared to risk title winners Manchester United getting beaten by Chelsea tomorrow in order to preserve a sense of fair play in the relegation battle on Sunday. Ferguson is eager to make it clear Alan Curbishley can expect no favours this weekend, with Sheffield United and Wigan also scrapping for their lives. Indeed, the United chief's determination to ensure he has a full strength side available to face the Hammers means he will rest a number of key man at Stamford Bridge as his team head south to meet the side they have just deposed as champions. "The West Ham game is a very important issue," said Ferguson. "We have to respect our reputation. Alan Curbishley is a good friend of mine but he understands we have to respect the wishes of other managers. I get on very well with Paul Jewell and Alan Pardew as well. They deserve our best attention to the game and I will be picking a team to win on Sunday. I don't know what my team will be at Chelsea but there will be a lot of changes, simply because the players are so tired."

Regardless of which team Manchester united field at the weekend, Keith Peacock insists the mood is good in the camp. "It's not just the results we've got lately", he said. "It's the way we've played. We've played some very good football, got the ball down and the way the goals are conceived and finished has been superb. I'm sure that'll give us an extra bit of confidence going to Manchester United, where we'll have to pass the ball around in order to win. There is that belief that things are going for us and there's nothing quite like confidence and putting a run of good results together. Everyone has that little bit more bounce in their step, that little bit more energy in their play and we need to get off to a good start up at Old Trafford. That will be very important, that we don't concede an early goal. The concentration will have to be total. I think there will be a reasonable atmosphere there as well, to say the least!"

Meanwhile, Sky have confirmed the game at Old Trafford will be shown on Sky Sports One. The game between Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic will be broadcast on Sky Sports Three.


Ken said...

Why should WH be allowed to get away with it, whilst middlesbrough was docked 3 points that led to thier relegation to lower division. Is it one rule for Northerners and one for Londoners?

Or is that the members of the panel were fans of the WHUFC? Imagine Wigan relagated. They will lose more than 5.5 millions pounds in Championship income.

GO on WIGAN, sue the Premiership and Football League.

Helsinki said...

To have these four clubs kicking up a stink because they couldn´t do the bussiness on the pitch is nothing short of pitiful and pathetic.

Their actions have shown lack of integrity and class and has only made them look like a bunch of children stamping their feet in a tantrum.

Regardless of the right or wrong of the situation, in no way has the inclusion of Tevez in the West Ham squad had any detremental effect on it´s policies or performance on the pitch. West Ham have performed poorly throughout the season as have the whinging four, the only difference in situations is that these feel they can escape their poor performance by placing the blame on the inclusion of Tevez in the West Ham line up.

It´s about time they grew up and excepted the panels decision and got on with the every day running of their respective clubs.

Carol said...

Given how ready the Premier League has been to deduct points in the past, the decision simply to fine West Ham seems very inconsistent. For example, Middlesborough were deducted points for missing a fixture, when 23 of their players were struck down by illness and certified as unfit to play. Middlesborough were relegated as a result. To my mind, West Ham's position is far more serious than Middlesborough's so why have they been let off so lightly? Although £5.5m seems like a lot of money, a relegated club loses far more money. If West Ham had been deducted points, as they should have been, they would be relegated. That means that another club would be safe - and safety is worth far more than £5.5m.

Darmstadt said...

I'm not a supporter of any of the affected teams, but based on the information I would fully support the claims that the Premier League's decision NOT to deduct points was questionable, and inconsistent to previous similar offences and punishments!
That the Premier League simply accepted West Ham's assurances that the contract was nullified without also questioning Kia Joorabchian smacks of incompetence.
With a place in the Premiership worth 20-40 million pounds, did they really expect relegared clubs to shuffle away quietly!?

Relegated clubs normally have to accept that their plight was purely due to poor form during the season. No club wants to believe they were cheated of their place due to the 'irregular' management activities of a competitor and the mishandling of the situation by their league!
A 5.5million pound fine shouts 'guilty, but a guilty verdict should have meant points deducted!

Anonymous said...

West Ham didn't field an ineligible player. That was not their misdemeanour. They failed to disclose possible third-party influence in the contracts (which gave them no real advantage). There is no precedent for that 'crime' - I reckon the punishment is fitting

Roman B said...

On the other hand.....I would be ashamed to be a west ham supporter who have stolen/been spoon fed the opportunity to retain their place in the Premiership next season!
GUILTY as charged, only for the Premier league to hand out a lenient fine instead of points deduction giving the reasons that it wouldn't be fair on their 'great support'!
From reading many, many comments from fans around the country, the general view is that West Ham have hit a new low. Lets hope justice can be done on the pitch on Sunday and the hammers get relegated

Craig b said...


How can you blame the fans????????

The previous regime failed to dislose details relating to the players. That doesnt make the players ineligible.

I wonder who you follow? After the last comment, it could only be one of four...

As a hammers fan, I would have loved the situation to play a play off to stay up against one of these whingers who are looking for excuses. Thats not going to happen now as wigan and sheffield will be nil nil on Saturday as they will be standing in the middle of the pitch whinging to each other like they have been for weeks.

Propaganda, politics and emotion are playing their role here and only wish you could see it..

Go the Irons!!!!!!!!!!!!


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